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Masters Degrees (Phonology)

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The Linguistics MA with specialisation in Phonology is a research-oriented programme designed for students looking for concentrated study in phonology, with a focus on theoretically-driven empirical research. Read more
The Linguistics MA with specialisation in Phonology is a research-oriented programme designed for students looking for concentrated study in phonology, with a focus on theoretically-driven empirical research. Students will use typological comparison, data collection, experimental methods, or modelling techniques and will receive extensive training in research methods and the scholarly presentation of ideas.

Degree information

Students gain knowledge and understanding of current research in phonology and are prepared for independent research. On completion of the programme, they will be able to formulate appropriate research questions, find and evaluate relevant literature, develop and test new hypotheses, and produce cogent, structured and professionally presented reports.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five pathway modules (60 credits), three optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation/report (60 credits).

Pathway modules - students select three from the list below:
-Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology A
-Intermediate Phonetics and Phonology B
-Advanced Phonology Theory A
-Advanced Phonology Theory B

In conjunction with the Programme Co-ordinator, students select two from a list which includes the following:
-Phonetic Theory
-Phonology of English
-Morphology
-Intermediate Generative Grammar A
-Current Issues in Syntax
-Readings in Syntax

Optional modules - a further three modules are selected, either from the list of non-compulsory core modules above or from the list of optional modules below:
-Advanced Semantic Theory
-Advanced Semantic Theory B
-Animal Communication and the Human Language
-Communication and Human Language
-Interfaces
-Issues in Pragmatics
-Language Acquisition
-Neurolinguistics
-Pragmatic Theory
-Semantic-Pragmatic Development
-Semantics Research Seminar
-Sociolinguistics
-Stuttering
-The Linguistics of Sign Languages
-Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics
-Or any statistical training outside the department

Dissertation/report
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The teaching and assessment of this programme is strongly research-oriented. It is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching and a virtual learning environment. Some modules also involve workshops or practical classes. Assessment is through take-home and unseen examination, essays, presentations, assignments and the dissertation.

Careers

Although the degree can be an end in itself, this advanced programme is an excellent preparation for independent doctoral research in phonology. Graduates from our specialised Master's programmes in linguistics have a very strong track record of securing funded doctoral studentships and have in recent years gone on to research at UCL, MIT, Cambridge, University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

Employability
This Linguistics MA equips graduates with the necessary skills to carry out research in the subject of phonology.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour and language.

Our work attracts staff and students from around the world. Together they create an outstanding and vibrant environment, taking advantage of cutting-edge resources such as a behavioural neuroscience laboratory, a centre for brain imaging, and extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.

Our world-class research is characterised by a tight integration of theoretical and experimental work spanning the full width of the linguistic enterprise and forms the bedrock of the department’s eminent reputation which is also reflected in other markers of excellence such as its editorial involvement with top journals in the field.

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As a student on our MA in Phonetics and Phonology, you will study the sounds and sound patterns of the languages of the world from cognitive and social angles, combining theory and data. Read more
As a student on our MA in Phonetics and Phonology, you will study the sounds and sound patterns of the languages of the world from cognitive and social angles, combining theory and data. You will be guided by academics who are recognized experts in their field, with specialisms in language change, acquisition, prosody, spoken interaction and sociophonetics.

Overview

Why do the sounds of languages change over time? How do we learn the phonologies of our first and second languages? Why do we have different accents? What information do fine details of everyday speech convey?

These are some of the many questions that you can pursue on our MA in Phonetics and Phonology. This MA programme is designed to familiarise you with a broad range of topics within phonetics and phonology and give you the necessary skills to develop your own research in these fields. You will learn how to collect and analyse phonetic and phonological data, and how to use it to answer theoretical questions.

You will be taught by a diverse group of researchers drawing on traditional and time-tested methods of analysis as well as cutting-edge technological advances. Our own research combines a focus on careful data analysis with a strong interest in theoretical questions. We hope to instill the same attention to theoretical and empirical detail in our students.

Aims
Our MA in Phonetics and Phonology will:
-Deepen your knowledge of phonetics and phonology
-Give you practical training in using auditory and instrumental techniques in phonetic analysis, as well as a range of computational methods
-Provide you with a strong background in quantitative and qualitative data analysis
-Enable you to apply your skills and knowledge to linguistic data
-Train you to carry out original research in phonetics and phonology

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods
We aim to give you practical training in the skills that are essential for phoneticians and phonologists as well as a firm grounding in theory. Our teaching methods reflect these goals: you will attend a variety of lab sessions, ear training classes and discussion groups besides more conventional lectures and seminars. You will also work closely with a supervisor who will help you develop your own research programme.

We encourage our students to be an active part of the research community here at York. You will have the opportunity to interact with researchers from within and outside the department, and to attend departmental colloquia where you can broaden your view of phonetics, phonology and linguistics in general.

Assessment
This MA programme comprises an overall 180 credits. A large part of this is made up by the dissertation, which is worth 80 credits. As a result, the decisive factor in determining the outcome of the MA is the dissertation.

For the taught modules, assessment is typically by an exam, a dossier of exercises or a short essay for the Autumn Term Modules, and by a 5,000 word essay or equivalent for the Spring Term Modules.

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Programme description. This intensive programme will enable you to delve deeper into the structure of the English language’s phonology, syntax and semantics and modern and historical development. Read more

Programme description

This intensive programme will enable you to delve deeper into the structure of the English language’s phonology, syntax and semantics and modern and historical development.

The MSc can function either as a stand-alone masters qualification or as a basis for further postgraduate study, typically at PhD level.

Joining an internationally acclaimed centre for research and teaching in the linguistic study of English, you will explore in depth a global language with a rich history and great social and geographical variation.

You will be taught by world-leading experts who will give you a detailed awareness of the ways in which English is used in Britain and around the world.

Programme structure

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses, followed by a dissertation.

The programme focuses initially on the structure of English, and also offers option courses on aspects of the history of English, on current varieties of the language and on a good number of approaches to the study of the language and English linguistics.

Compulsory courses:

  • Introduction to Language Research
  • Introduction to Phonology
  • Introduction to Syntax
  • History of the English Language

Optional courses:

  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Current Issues in Phonology: Current Issues in Syntax
  • Diachronic Linguistics
  • Dialects of English in Britain & Ireland
  • Early Germanic Dialects
  • English Grammar: a Cognitive Account
  • Global Englishes
  • Historical Phonology
  • Introduction to Discourse Analysis
  • Introduction to Morphology
  • Introduction to Semantics
  • Introduction to Sociolinguistics
  • Middle English
  • Pragmatics
  • Pragmatics of Linguistic Communication
  • Reading Old English
  • Scots and Scottish English

You can also choose optional courses from a wide range of other areas of linguistic study. You may be able to take a course from other degree programmes in the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences, and in some cases, from elsewhere in the University.

Career opportunities

The programme has been designed to help you progress your career as an English language specialist in academia. The analytical skills you develop and the research training you receive will be valuable in a wide range of careers.



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Modern linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of the world’s languages from their sound systems and grammatical structure through to the interaction of language with culture, the study of meaning in language, and the use of language in modern technology. Read more
Modern linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of the world’s languages from their sound systems and grammatical structure through to the interaction of language with culture, the study of meaning in language, and the use of language in modern technology. Linguists try to establish what types of structures are shared by different languages and the extent to which language may differ from each other.

MA Linguistics at SOAS is a modular programme which combines the intensive study of the core areas of formal linguistics - phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics - with a choice of options in different areas of the discipline. The programme is run on a modular basis to suit the needs of the following four categories of students:

- Those with a degree in linguistics who wish to pursue more regional and language-based study;

- Those with a degree in linguistics who wish to pursue more research-oriented topics before proceeding to a research degree;

- Those with little or no previous training in linguistics who wish to acquire a knowledge of the discipline;

- Those with little or no previous training in linguistics who wish to take the degree as a conversion course before; proceeding to a research degree.

The course can be taken full time over one calendar year or part time over two or three years (daytime only.) The taught part of the course consists of core lectures which introduce basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars which extend the core material into other areas. A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest.

MA Linguistics is for students who would like to acquire general postgraduate-level training in formal linguistics (perhaps as preparation for further training or research).

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/linguistics/programmes/maling/

Structure

The MA Linguistics consists of three components: core courses, option courses and dissertation research.

MA Linguistics:
This track is for students who would like to acquire general postgraduate-level training in formal linguistics (perhaps as preparation for further training or research). The core courses are as follows:

- Phonology (Masters) (0.5 unit) is intended to introduce students to the general principles and properties which characterise (i) possible sound systems in human languages and (ii) the structures and processes which build words and determine their realisation. Topics covered include: the scope of phonology and morphology; theoretical foundations; the nature of phonological and morphological representations – units, constituents and structure; inflectional and derivational morphology; the phonology-lexical interface.

- Syntax (Masters) (0.5 unit) addresses questions of the nature of grammatical representations, the relationship between morphemes, words, grammatical structures and their corresponding semantic counterparts. Syntactic constructions across different languages are investigated, introducing the fundamental concepts of syntactic theory.

Programme Specification

MA Linguistics - Programme Specifications 2013/14 (binary; 120kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/linguistics/programmes/maling/file83228.pdf

Employment

An MA in Linguistics from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers.

MA Linguistics graduates leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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The Linguistics MA aims to give students a thorough grounding in modern theoretical linguistics. Students gain a basic understanding of the three core areas of linguistics. Read more
The Linguistics MA aims to give students a thorough grounding in modern theoretical linguistics. Students gain a basic understanding of the three core areas of linguistics: phonetics and phonology; syntax; and semantics and pragmatics, and are then able to tailor the programme to meet their personal linguistic interests.

Degree information

Students gain knowledge and understanding of current research in theoretical linguistics and are prepared for independent research. On completion of the programme, they will be able to formulate appropriate research questions, find and evaluate relevant literature, develop and test new hypotheses, and produce cogent, structured and professionally presented reports.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (105 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-Syntax
-Semantics and Pragmatics
-Phonetics and Phonology
-Foundations of Linguistics

Optional modules - students choose one of the following:
-Advanced Phonological Theory
-Advanced Semantic Theory
-Current Issues in Syntax
-Intermediate Generative Grammar
-Issues in Pragmatics
-Language Acquisition
-Linguistics of Sign Language
-Morphology
-Neurolinguistics
-Phonology of English
-Readings in Syntax
-Semantic-Pragmatic Development
-Sociolinguistics
-Stuttering

Dissertation/report
All MA students undertake an independent research project in any area of linguistics which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The teaching and assessment of this programme is strongly research-orientated. It is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching and a virtual learning environment. Some modules also involve workshops or practical classes. Assessment is through take-home and unseen examination, essays, presentations, assignments and the dissertation.

Careers

Many linguistics graduates from UCL carry on studying linguistics at MPhil/PhD level with a view to pursuing an academic career. Others go on to teach languages, especially English (as a first or foreign language) or embark on a range of other careers, from law, media, computing and speech and language therapy to all aspects of commerce and industry.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Lecturer, University of Saudi Arabia
-Software Developer, OpenBet Ltd
-Investigations Specialist, Amazon
-Translator, Hunan University
-PhD in Linguistics, University of Cambridge

Employability
Linguistics MA students acquire a wide range of transferable skills, which opens up opportunities in many different sectors include language teaching, translating and interpreting, marketing, communication, journalism, management, and law.

Graduates who achieve good results are well-placed to go on to a research degree in Linguistics at top universities, often with a view to pursuing an academic career.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in linguistics, language, mind, and behaviour. More specifically, UCL Linguistics is one of the leading departments for research in theoretical linguistics in the UK and its staff includes world leaders in theoretical syntax, semantics, pragmatics, phonology, and experimental linguistics.

Our work attracts staff and students from around the world. Together they create an outstanding and vibrant environment, taking advantage of cutting-edge resources such as a behavioural neuroscience laboratory, a centre for brain imaging, and extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.

Our world-class research is characterised by a tight integration of theoretical and experimental work spanning the full range of the linguistic enterprise and forms the bedrock of the department’s eminent reputation, which is also reflected in other markers of excellence, such as its editorial involvement with top journals in the field.

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This degree will give you a good grounding in major topics in linguistics – the study of how language is structured, represented in the mind and interpreted – and phonetics, the study of how speech sounds are physically produced. Read more

This degree will give you a good grounding in major topics in linguistics – the study of how language is structured, represented in the mind and interpreted – and phonetics, the study of how speech sounds are physically produced.

Core modules will introduce you to key aspects of the discipline, such as syntax, phonetics and phonology. You’ll also develop your knowledge of research methods within and outside of the lab. You’ll then choose from optional modules to suit your interests or career plans, such as language acquisition or sociolinguistics.

Spanning the arts and sciences, linguistics is a challenging and rewarding discipline that allows you to gain a real understanding of human communication as well as a wide range of transferable skills. Taught by experts in top-class facilities and supported by the Language at Leeds research network, this programme will give you a good foundation in the subject informed by the very latest research.

Specialist resources

Leeds is a fantastic place to study linguistics and phonetics. Our tutors and research students are active members of the wider Language at Leeds network which brings together researchers from across the University. You’ll be able to enhance your learning with an array of research events throughout the year.

Postgraduates also have access to our extensive facilities, including the Human Communications Suite complete with a recording studio and lab space for psycholinguistics experiments. You can make use of our phonetics lab and the Language Zone, a state-of-the-art space where you can use a range of language-based teaching materials whenever you want.

This programme is suitable for people who have no prior knowledge of linguistics, or those who may have studied some during their first degree. However, if you do have a substantial background in linguistics or phonetics, you may prefer to study for an MA by Research.

This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months.

Course content

Core modules will allow you to develop your knowledge of key aspects of linguistics and phonetics. You’ll study introductory modules in syntax and phonetics and phonology in Semester One, which you’ll build on in more advanced modules in the following semester. You’ll also take core modules to develop your academic and research skills in linguistics.

In addition, you’ll expand your understanding of areas that suit your interests when you choose from optional modules on topics such as pragmatics, sociolinguistics and language acquisition. By the end of the programme, you’ll be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge you’ve gained when you complete an independently researched dissertation on a linguistics topic of your choice.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll take fewer modules in each year so you can study over a longer period.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation (Linguistics and Phonetics) 30 credits
  • Foundations of Phonetics and Phonology 15 credits
  • Foundations of Syntax 15 credits
  • Topics in Phonetics and Phonology 15 credits
  • Topics in Syntax 15 credits
  • Academic Skills in Linguistics 15 credits
  • Research Methods in Linguistics 15 credits

Optional modules

  • Languages in Contact 30 credits
  • Pragmatics 30 credits
  • Second Language Acquisition 30 credits
  • Approaches to Linguistics and Language Acquisition 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Linguistics MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Linguistics MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

We use diverse teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from our tutors’ expertise. They include seminars, lectures, online learning, tutorials and practicals. Independent study is also a vital element of the course. You’re also encouraged to sit in on classes in modules that you’re not taking, giving you a great opportunity to gain a broad base of knowledge in linguistics and phonetics.

Assessment

Depending on the modules you choose, assessment methods will vary. However, they usually include coursework , essays and practicals, while core linguistics modules also include exams.

Career opportunities

This programme will give you a sophisticated understanding of human communication, as well as valuable transferable skills in areas such as use of quantitative and qualitative data, research, interpretation, oral and written communication and analysis which are highly attractive to employers in a wide range of industries.

Graduates have pursued diverse careers as a result, in areas such as lexicography, journalism, editing, advertising, language education an even artificial intelligence. Many also pursue PhD level study and continue with research into linguistics, or further training in disciplines such as speech and language therapy.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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This unique programme bridges the gap between linguistic theory and language teaching practice to enable you to develop a career in language teaching or research. Read more

This unique programme bridges the gap between linguistic theory and language teaching practice to enable you to develop a career in language teaching or research.

Whether you’re already a teacher or you plan to become one, this degree offers you a deeper understanding of how language is structured, used and interpreted and how this can inform language teaching. Core modules will introduce you to key topics in linguistics such as syntax, phonetics and phonology, as well as teaching methodologies and how they are applied. You’ll also improve your knowledge of research methods in language sciences.

To enhance your knowledge, you’ll choose from optional modules to suit your career plans or interests, on topics such as language acquisition or sociolinguistics. With support from expert tutors within the Language at Leeds research network, you’ll gain valuable skills and a sound knowledge base to prepare you for further research or to inform your teaching practice.

Specialist resources

Leeds is a fantastic place to study linguistics and phonetics. Our tutors and research students are active members of the wider Language at Leeds network which brings together researchers from across the University. You’ll be able to enhance your learning with an array of research events throughout the year.

Postgraduates also have access to our extensive facilities, including the Human Communications Suite complete with a recording studio and lab space for psycholinguistics experiments. You can make use of our phonetics lab and the Language Zone, a state-of-the-art space where you can use a range of language-based teaching materials whenever you want.

This is an academic programme which approaches English language teaching from the perspective of linguistics, and it is therefore not intended for those who are seeking vocational teacher training or classroom experience.

This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months.

Course content

Core modules in your first semester will give you a good grounding in key topics and approaches in linguistics, introducing you to syntax, phonetics, phonology and language acquisition. You’ll also develop the skills you need to study linguistics effectively.

In the following semester you’ll build on this foundation, improving your linguistic research skills while learning about language teaching methodologies and practices. You’ll also choose from optional modules to focus on topics that interest you, such as pragmatics and language development.

Throughout this programme you’ll develop sophisticated research and analytical skills, as well as a wealth of subject knowledge and teaching techniques. You’ll demonstrate this in your dissertation, where you’ll independently research a topic of your choice and submit the finished product by the end of the programme in September.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation (Linguistics and Phonetics) 30 credits
  • Foundations of Phonetics and Phonology 15 credits
  • Foundations of Syntax 15 credits
  • Approaches to Linguistics and Language Acquisition 30 credits
  • Methodology in Language Teaching 15 credits
  • Language Teaching in Practice 15 credits
  • Academic Skills in Linguistics 15 credits
  • Research Methods in Linguistics 15 credits

Optional modules

  • Pragmatics 30 credits
  • Second Language Acquisition 30 credits
  • Topics in Phonetics and Phonology 15 credits
  • Topics in Syntax 15 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Linguistics and English Language Teaching MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Linguistics and English Language Teaching MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

We use diverse teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from our tutors’ expertise. They include seminars, lectures, online learning, tutorials and practicals. Independent study is also a vital element of the course. You’re also encouraged to sit in on classes in modules that you’re not taking, which gives you a great opportunity to gain a broad base of knowledge in linguistics and phonetics.

Assessment

Depending on the modules you choose, assessment methods will vary. However, they usually include coursework , essays and practicals, while core linguistics modules also include exams.

Career opportunities

This programme will equip you with a deeper understanding of human communication and how language is taught and learned. It will also give you high-level research and analysis skills that are valued in all kinds of industries and organisations.

Graduates have pursued a wide range of careers in fields such as language teaching, preparing language teaching materials, lexicography, editing work, the media, marketing and journalism. Many others have pursued PhD level study in fields such as applied linguistics and education.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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This programme will give a comprehensive grounding in the theory and practice of phonetics. Students will learn the core phonetic topics of speech production, speech acoustics, and speech perception, and will learn how phonetics relates to many other language-related disciplines. Read more

This programme will give a comprehensive grounding in the theory and practice of phonetics. Students will learn the core phonetic topics of speech production, speech acoustics, and speech perception, and will learn how phonetics relates to many other language-related disciplines.

The programme has a strong practical emphasis. It is designed primarily for graduates wishing to continue studying phonetics at PhD level, and for those wishing to use phonetics as a tool for investigation in related fields, e.g. historical linguistics, phonology, developmental linguistics, psychology, speech technology, etc.

The taught MSc in Phonetics will provide students with an intensive grounding in phonetics and related disciplines, its methodologies, research questions, and techniques of research.

Programme structure

Students will take options from a wide range of courses offered in Linguistics & English Language and related subject areas, and will write a dissertation project.

All students will be required to take two core courses in Phonetics and one core course in Statistics. Those students who do not have a strong background in phonetics and phonology may also be required to take an introductory course in Phonology & Phonetics.

Courses will include lectures, tutorials, and lab practicals.

Assessment is by coursework, project, and/or exams and a dissertation project.

At the dissertation stage, students are assigned a supervisor with whom they meet to plan their reading and to discuss their work.

Learning outcomes

The taught MSc in Phonetics will give students all of the intellectual and practical skills to engage in phonetics research, either for its own sake, or as part of research in another sub-area of linguistics, speech technology, or speech pathology.

Students graduating from our programme will understand basic anatomy and physiology of speaking and hearing, phonetic typology, current theories of phonetics and its relationship to phonology and other parts of grammar, and how to test these theories using empirical data.

We offer a strong focus on practical skills: students will learn how to elicit and collect phonetic data, the mechanisms involved in recording sound, how to measure and analyse acoustic and articulatory components of speech, how to create and analyse perceptual experiments, as well as core elements of scripting and statistical analysis.

Career opportunities

This course is primarily as a conversion course for students looking to do serious postgraduate work in phonetics, speech pathology, speech processing, forensic linguistics or related fields.

Students will also receive training in practical skills, e.g. statistics and computational techniques, which could be relevant for a variety of different fields.



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This MSc gives students all of the intellectual and practical skills to engage in linguistics research, either for its own sake, or as part of cross-disciplinary research. Read more

This MSc gives students all of the intellectual and practical skills to engage in linguistics research, either for its own sake, or as part of cross-disciplinary research.

Students graduating from our programme will understand how to analyse key data in syntax, semantics, phonology, and morphology, how to theorise such data, and how to exploit empirical methods to test their theories.

The key aims of the programme are to:

  • provide specialist knowledge within the fields of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics
  • integrate relevant knowledge in those fields
  • establish a foundation for advanced research within phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics
  • provide a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of research in theoretical and descriptive linguistics
  • develop the students’ analytical skills in an interdisciplinary context

We offer a strong focus on theoretical understanding: students will learn how to analyse data in the context of current theoretical understanding of linguistic structure at all levels, drawing on the expertise of the department, which is particularly strong in theory development, and will be well placed to compare and evaluate competing proposals, both from within the same theoretical model, and from competing models. Additionally, students will acquire the necessary data-elicitation skills, and skills in naturally occurring data in corpora.

All of these skills provide a firm foundation for further PhD study, either in Linguistics or in a related discipline that makes heavy use of core Linguistics (e.g. Developmental Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, etc.).

The programme is best suited to applicants whose academic background is in Linguistics, English Language, Philology or Cognitive Science.

Programme structure

The programme (a total of 180 credit points) requires students without a background in Linguistics to take the following five core courses totalling 50 credits:

  • Introduction to Morphology
  • Introduction to Phonology
  • Introduction to Semantics
  • Introduction to Syntax

Students with a background in Linguistics may be exempted from any or all of the courses at the Programme Director’s discretion.

Students will also need to choose, under the guidance of the programme director, additional course options (totalling 70 credits for students with no background) from an approved list of level 11 courses; students who are exempted from any of the courses listed will have to choose courses to ensure that their total number of credits excluding the dissertation comes to 120.

All students are expected to take Introduction to Language Research.

It is possible for students to take up to 20 credits of their optional courses from other MSc options offered within the School subject to the Programme Director’s approval.

All students will be required to write a dissertation of approximately 8,000-10,000 words.

Learning outcomes

Students graduating from this new programme will understand how contemporary research approaches the study of language.

Students will acquire and enhance the following professional/subject-specific/practical skills:

  • general analytical (ability to construct, re-construct, critically evaluate an argument)
  • organisational (ability to complete a project, setting up research goals, identifying necessary means and ways to completion)
  • team- or group-work (presentations, in-class discussions)
  • critical thinking (ability to select and evaluate the relevant data, such as experimental evidence or evidence from secondary sources)
  • writing (how to convey purpose, motivation, method, results, and interpretation in written form)


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The MA in Psycholinguistics will provide you with a general background in psycholinguistics while giving you a practical training in the techniques and methodologies associated with the field of study. Read more
The MA in Psycholinguistics will provide you with a general background in psycholinguistics while giving you a practical training in the techniques and methodologies associated with the field of study. You will have the opportunity to develop your interest in areas such as bilingualism, syntactic processing in special populations and early phonetic and phonological development.

Overview

The MA in Psycholinguistics will:
-Impart a general foundation and background in psycholinguistics
-Give you a practical training in techniques used in psycholinguistics, including statistical methods
-Enable you to apply your skills and knowledge to linguistic data
-Introduce you to research questions and methodologies in psycholinguistics
-Enable you to perform original research in psycholinguistics

Course structure

Autumn Term
There are two different routes in the Autumn Term, depending on your prior background. Students with no prior background in Linguistics or Psycholinguistics take the modules in Route A, below. Students who already have some background in these subjects take Route B. We will help you to determine which route you should take, when you apply.

Route A
-Quantitative methods (10 credits)
-Language acquisition (10 credits)
-Psycholinguistics (10 credits)
-Syntax (10 credits) OR Phonetics and phonology (10 credits)

Route B
-Quantitative methods (10 credits)
AND 30 further credits from among the modules below and the modules in Route A:
-Advanced comparative syntactic or semantic typology (20 credits)
-Advanced phonology (10 credits)
-Advanced phonetics (10 credits)
-Emergence of structure from use (10 credits)
-Phonological development (20 credits)
-Directed readings in phonological development (10 credits)

Spring Term
In the Spring Term you will take two 20-credit modules from a range of options. Options may include:
-Topics in phonological development (20 credits)
-Bilingualism (20 credits)
-Learning mechanisms (20 credits)
-Second language phonology (20 credits)
-Second language syntax (20 credits)
-Psycholinguistic approaches to second language acquisition (20 credits)

Note that module offerings may vary from year to year. Not every module is offered every year.

Spring and Summer Terms
-Key ideas in linguistics (20 credits)

Summer Term and Summer vacation
-Dissertation (60 credits)

All terms
-Research training seminar (20 credits)

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The Linguistics MA is a flexible programme which aims to explore the breadth and the depth of linguistics. It builds on the widest range of teaching and research expertise, covering all aspects of theoretical and descriptive linguistics. Read more
The Linguistics MA is a flexible programme which aims to explore the breadth and the depth of linguistics. It builds on the widest range of teaching and research expertise, covering all aspects of theoretical and descriptive linguistics: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse and conversation analysis, typology, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics, computational and corpus linguistics, field linguistics, and the documentation and description of endangered languages. The academic staff teaching on the programme work on various practical applications of linguistics (e.g. language codification and language policy, institutional language, language in the community) and have expertise in a wide range of languages, including English and its varieties, Germanic, Latin and Romance, Russian, Polish, Kurdish and other Iranian languages, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and several languages spoken in the Americas (e.g. Huave, Quechua, Ulwa), Australia (e.g. Jamingjung), and beyond.
All students receive a solid foundation for linguistic study in three core modules (of which at least two are compulsory):
Grammatical Theory
Semantics and Pragmatics
Phonetics and Phonology
The remainder of the programme allows the students to make the most of what the staff have to offer. Students can either take a variety of course units in different areas including the new Forensic Linguistics unit, or specialise in one of the following pathways: Phonetics and Phonology, Sociolinguistics, Syntax and Semantics, Typology or Romani Linguistics.

Aims

The course aims to give students a grounding in breadth and depth in Linguistics, by exploring the central features of linguistic theory: its history, objectives, principal theoretical frameworks, methodologies, contested areas and uncontested results. Students will gain experience of excellence in teaching and learning at an advanced level, in an environment where they will benefit from the fact that the School is also home to world-leading research in Linguistics.

Teaching and learning

Teaching takes on a variety of forms. Core course units and other MA specific course units are typically taught as seminars, in a small group, combining lectures with discussion. Many of them have practical tutorials as well which will help students prepare for individual research projects. Directed Readings involve individual or small group meetings during which pre-set readings on a particular topic are discussed. The enhanced Level 3 undergraduate course units combine lectures or seminars, depending on the aim of the course unit, with more optional tutorials. The aim across all teaching forms is to create the opportunity for intensive scholarly work, with areas of focus determined by the participants and their individual interests, which can be investigated in considerable depth.

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The MA in Linguistics aims to give you a general foundation in the central areas of modern linguistics, while at the same time allowing you to develop your own particular areas of interest. Read more
The MA in Linguistics aims to give you a general foundation in the central areas of modern linguistics, while at the same time allowing you to develop your own particular areas of interest.

Overview

The MA in Linguistics will:
-Impart a general foundation and background in linguistics
-Give you a practical training in techniques used in linguistic analysis
-Enable you to apply your skills and knowledge to linguistic data
-Introduce you to research questions and methodologies in linguistics
-Enable you to perform original research in linguistics

Course structure

The Autumn term comprises four modules in core areas of linguistics. In the Spring term you will choose two modules from a range of options, and begin a further core module on key ideas in linguistics which you will complete in the Summer term. The programme is completed with a research dissertation.

The modules in the Autumn term assume no prior knowledge and provide introductions to the core areas. The modules in the Spring term provide preparation for the research area in which you will complete your dissertation.

Autumn Term
Students take modules worth 40 credits in Autumn Term. The typical Autumn Term modules are:
-Language variation and change (10 credits)
-Semantics (10 credits)
-Syntax (10 credits)
-Phonetics and phonology (10 credits)

Spring Term
In the Spring Term you will take two 20-credit modules of your choice. Your options may include:
-Articulatory and impressionistic phonetics (20 credits)
-Bilingualism (20 credits)
-Phonological variation and change (20 credits)
-Second Language phonology (20 credits)
-Second language syntax (20 credits)
-Semantic theory (20 credits)
-Syntactic theory (20 credits)
-The phonetics of talk-in-interaction (20 credits)
-Topics in language variation and change (20 credits)

Note that module offerings may vary from year to year. Not every module is offered every year.

If you have covered substantial parts of the taught MA programme in your undergraduate degree, please talk to us about whether one of our specialist degree programmes may be more appropriate.

Spring and Summer Terms
In the second half of the Spring term and first half of the Summer term you will take a further core module:
-Key ideas in linguistics (20 credits)

Summer Term and Summer vacation
-Dissertation (60 credits)

All terms
-Research training seminar (20 credits)

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This programme will develop your understanding of how knowledge of language changes as people acquire or lose language at various points in their lifespan. Read more

Programme description

This programme will develop your understanding of how knowledge of language changes as people acquire or lose language at various points in their lifespan.

It is designed primarily for graduates with a background related to linguistics and/or psychology who wish to develop their knowledge of current research on language acquisition (first, second, bilingual, and impaired) and language change from a cognitive perspective and from the point of view of current linguistic theories.

Joining a vibrant research community of developmental linguists, you will have the opportunity to carry out advanced research to try to answer questions related to the area of language development and bilingualism, such as ‘how do children learn language?’ or ‘what happens when we forget a language?’

You will benefit from the programme's strengths in:

scope (with equal emphasis on first and second language acquisition and bilingualism)
interdisciplinary teaching (staff drawn from linguistics, psychology and informatics)
skill-oriented training (through methodology courses, lab sessions and project work)

Programme structure

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses, followed by a dissertation.

Compulsory courses

Introduction to Phonology and Phonetics
Introduction to Syntax
First Language Acquisition
Second Language Acquisition
Psychology of Language Learning
Univariate Statistics and Methodology Using R

Option courses may include:

Sentence Comprehension
Discourse Comprehension
Language Production
Origins and Evolution of Language
Simulating Language
Child Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
Language Behaviours, Brains and Cognition: Data and Theories
Language Behaviours, Brains and Cognition: Principles and Approaches
Experimental Pragmatics
Developmental Language Disorders
Research Methods in Developmental Linguistics
Language Evolution in the Lab
Computational Phonology
Advanced Topics in Phonetics: Speech Production and Perception

Career opportunities

This programme will provide you with the specialised skills you need to perform research in language learning and development. It will also serve as a solid basis for doctoral study.

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This programme offers knowledge and expertise to prepare for research in linguistics and language and communication, as a PhD researcher, or in professional or commercial spheres. Read more
This programme offers knowledge and expertise to prepare for research in linguistics and language and communication, as a PhD researcher, or in professional or commercial spheres.

You will receive a grounding in relevant foundational research methods and theoretical paradigms before choosing from a variety of modules that examine the use of language and visual media in professional practice, and consider how language is employed in creating our identities, in interacting with others and in the ideological construction of discourses in a range of social and institutional contexts.

Distinctive features:

Our Centre for Language and Communication Research has a well established reputation in a broad range of teaching and research areas, including sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, multimodality, forensic linguistics, systemic functional grammar, phonology, and lexical studies.

The full-time programme carries Advanced Course Recognition from the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) as a postgraduate research training scheme.

Structure

The MA in Language and Communication Research is a modular programme that can be completed in one year by full-time study or in two years by part-time study.

Stage one comprises the taught element of the programme while stage two involves a supervised dissertation of between 14,000 and 20,000 words between May and September.

Core modules:

Foundation Module: Core Skills, Principles, and Issues Involved in Language and Communication Research
Qualitative Research Methods (optional for part-time students)
Quantitative Research Methods (optional for part-time students)
Research Experience
Dissertation

Optional modules:

Forensic Linguistics I
Language Description
Discourse and Social Interaction
Current Issues in Sociolinguistics
Phonology
Text and Social Context
Second Language Development and Pedagogy

Teaching

Teaching is delivered by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research across a broad spectrum of interrelated issues.

You will be taught core knowledge and understanding through lectures, small-group seminars and group discussion.

Teaching for core modules combines discussion of theoretical issues and the practical challenges of qualitative and quantitative analysis of language/communication data, while teaching for optional modules provides further theoretical discussion with some focus on the development of practical research skills.

Intellectual Skills are promoted via lectures, seminars and group discussions individual supervision and guidance for research undertaken in planning and writing the dissertation. You will also learn via one-to-one supervision of individual ‘research experience’ projects and dissertations.

The learning activities will vary from module to module as appropriate, but will usually include interactive discussions of prepared texts/topics and, in some cases, student-led presentations.

You will be encouraged to explore our excellent library resources and expected to undertake preparation including wide-ranging reading to enable full participation.

Assessment

Assessment of the taught component is by coursework only.

Modules are assessed on the basis of analytical descriptions of texts or other media and/or discursive essays. You are encouraged to choose your own texts for analysis, or even to collect original data, and to relate their analyses to areas of personal interest.

Emphasis in assessment is placed on critical and conceptual sophistication as well as on the production of clear, persuasive and scholarly essays presented in a professional manner and submitted on time.

You are encouraged to consult the relevant module leader to discuss the main ideas and the plan for your assignments. Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for disabled students, if any, are noted in the Module Descriptions.

The second part of the MA is examined by dissertation, supported by individual supervision.

Career prospects

Postgraduate study is a gateway to many careers within and beyond academia. Many overseas postgraduates return to lectureships with much enhanced career prospects. Example employers in the UK include Cardiff University, HMRC, Mencap, Poetry Wales Magazine, Teach First, and Welsh Government, with jobs that include Crime Intelligence Analyst, Creative Writing Lecturer, Librarian, Poet, Recruitment Consultant, Teacher, and Writer.

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Study the nuts and bolts of language. sound systems, word structure, sentence structure, and how meaning is conveyed. Learn about the different theories that have been proposed to account for human linguistic ability. Read more
Study the nuts and bolts of language: sound systems, word structure, sentence structure, and how meaning is conveyed. Learn about the different theories that have been proposed to account for human linguistic ability. In this degree you will learn what human languages share, and where they differ.

Our course will interest you if you want a formal and empirical grounding in all core areas of linguistics, and are keen to evaluate the major theoretical approaches in these disciplines.

You study topics including:
-Theoretical and descriptive phonology
-Syntactic theory
-Pragmatics
-Semantics
-Phonetics

Our optional modules are in the related fields of applied linguistics, psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics.

We are one of the largest and most prestigious language and linguistics departments in the world, a place where talented students become part of an academic community in which the majority of research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), placing us firmly within the top 10 departments in the UK and ranked among the top 150 departments on the planet according to the QS World University Rankings 2016 for linguistics.

If you want a global outlook, are interested in human communication, and want to study for a degree with real-world practical value in a world-class department, welcome to Essex.

Our expert staff

Our staff maintain excellent student-staff ratios with capped language-specific seminars.

In theoretical linguistics, Doug Arnold, Bob Borsley, Louisa Sadler, and Mike Jones work on the structure of sentences, focusing on English and other languages; Andrew Spencer investigates how complex words are created; and Nancy Kula and Wyn Johnson work on sound structure.

In sociolinguistics, Peter Patrick, Rebecca Clift, Enam Al Wer and Vineeta Chand all work on different aspects of how language varies, and investigate which factors cause such variation. Peter is also involved in language rights, and offers expert opinions in asylum cases where language is used to determine origin.

In applied linguistics, Florence Myles, Monika Schmid, Sophia Skoufaki, Karen Roehr-Brackin, Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez, and Roger Hawkins focus on the learning of second and further languages, whilst Julian Good, Christina Gkonou and Tracey Costley focus on issues to do with the classroom teaching of English as a foreign language.

In psycholinguistics, Sonja Eisenbeiss, Claire delle Luche and Fang Liu use experimental techniques to understand how children learn language, how adults process language, and what happens when language ability is impaired by brain disorders.

Specialist facilities

-An exciting programme of research seminars and other events
-Our Languages for All programme offers you the opportunity to study an additional language alongside your course at no extra cost
-Our ‘Visual World’ Experimental Lab records response times and eye movements when individuals are presented with pictures and videos
-Our Eye-Tracking Lab monitors eye movement of individuals performing tasks
-Our Psycholinguistics Lab measures how long it takes individuals to react to words, texts and sounds
-Our Linguistics Lab has specialist equipment to analyse sound
-Our Albert Sloman Library houses a strong collection of books, journals, electronic resources and major archives

Your future

Our course can lead to careers in areas such as academic research, publishing, journalism, administration, public service and teaching. You develop key employability skills including research design, data analysis, thinking analytically, report writing and public speaking.

We work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Within our Department of Language and Linguistics, we also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil. We offer supervision in areas including language acquisition, language learning and language teaching, culture and communication, psycholinguistics, language disorders, sociolinguistics, and theoretical and descriptive linguistics.

Our graduates are successful in a wide variety of career paths. They leave Essex with a unique set of skills and experience that are in demand by employers.

Example structure

-MA Dissertation
-Syntactic Theory I
-Advanced Phonology
-Assignment Writing and Dissertation Preparation
-Syntactic Theory II
-Semantics
-First Language Acquisition (optional)
-Phonological Development (optional)
-Second Language Acquisition and Linguistics Theory (optional)
-American Languages (optional)
-Varieties of English (optional)
-Sentence Processing (optional)
-Language Rights (optional)
-Language Learning (optional)
-English Syntax 1 (optional)
-Individual Differences in L2 Learning (optional)
-Variationist Sociolinguistic Theory (optional)
-Experimental Design and Analysis (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods 1: Data Collection (optional)
-Research Methods I (optional)
-English Syntax 2 (optional)
-Sociocultural Linguistics (optional)
-The Role of Age in Bilingual Development (optional)
-Variation in English II (optional)
-Sociolinguistic Methods: Data Coding and Analysis (optional)
-Research Methods II (optional)
-Graduate Research Assignment (optional)
-Language Attrition (optional)
-Language in Context: From Pragmatics to Conversation Analysis (optional)
-Intercultural Communication: communicating across languages and cultures (optional)

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